MADISON, Wis.—Dec. 30, 2020—WPS Health Solutions installed two giant “face masks” on the company’s main entrance sign on Dec. 29. The masks in front of the Madison campus remind the public of the need for continued vigilance while also thanking first responders and medical personnel who have risked their lives to treat patients during the coronavirus pandemic.
“This sign stands in honor of all the first responders and medical personnel, to all the health care heroes who have risked their lives to treat patients during the pandemic,” said Scott Kowalski, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications.
Local news media were on hand to cover remarks by Dane County Executive Joe Parisi and Monona Mayor Mary O'Connor, along with Kowalski.
Parisi and O’Connor thanked WPS for calling attention to the ongoing need to wear face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19, even as long-awaited vaccines are starting to be deployed. They urged the public not to let their guard down because it will take months to reach everyone who wants to receive the vaccine.
Kowalski thanked the essential workers at WPS who have been reporting to company facilities even though most employees are working from home because of the pandemic.
Parisi thanked WPS for spreading the word to “mask up” and practice physical distancing.
“We are at a time of both hope and challenge in our community,” he said, noting that the vaccine rollout began last week with health care workers and emergency medical responders beginning this week.
“By the spring, we hope vaccinations will be in full swing with the general public. But this most hopeful time will also be our most challenging—especially in the coming months.”
He called on people to remain vigilant, maintain distance, avoid unnecessary gatherings, and wear a mask.
“We will get through this; we can see the beginning of the end, but we are not quite there yet,” Parisi said.
WPS is the largest employer in the city of Monona and O’Connor noted that WPS employees are essential workers both on site and at home as they support the health care system.
“Over the past few months, we’ve learned just what a difference wearing a mask can make in slowing the spread of COVID-19. It’s one of the reasons Dane County’s numbers are a lot better than those of other Wisconsin counties,” she said.
“We’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the start of vaccine rollouts and it can be tempting to think it’s all right to let up just a little. But now’s not the time. Until we’re all able to receive the vaccine, we have to hang in there for a few more months and continue to follow the guidelines.”
The face-mask replicas are in a prominent location as people drive by the WPS campus on West Broadway.
“Seeing the masked signs on such a busy street will serve as a good reminder and is a great way to recognize our first responders. It’s so nice to see WPS proactively supporting the need to continue wearing masks in a fun way. What a great idea! I’d like to thank the first responders and medical personnel who risk their lives every day to treat patients and WPS for being a strong community partner,” O’Connor said.
More about the mask replicas: Measuring approximately 71 inches high by 78 inches wide, each mask is built over an aluminum and wire mesh frame. High-density urethane foam was sculpted in the shape of the mask. It has a polyurea hard-coat resin finish with a minor texture. It then was painted and clear-coated with automotive-grade exterior paints. A WPS designer developed the concept and then Vital Signs in Verona used a three-dimensional modeling program. Carving was done with a computerized router and hand-sculpted elements were added.